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McLaren has admitted that it made a mistake in sending out Jenson Button on option tyres in the first phase of yesterday's qualifying session.
The move meant that while his rivals has an extra set of the softer rubber for the final phase, the 2009 world champion didn't leaving him to run on the harder prime tyres.
"For Q3, we were a bit stuck for tyre choice," said the Englishman. "Used options would have probably kept us tenth, so we decided to roll the dice and run new primes. It was a tough decision, and, with the benefit of hindsight, we probably shouldn't have run at all.
"It was always going to be tricky to beat anyone in Q3 by running primes," he added, "since everyone else was on options, but we didn't have any new options remaining. So we thought we'd give it a go.
"Today wasn't great, you'd have to say," he admitted, "and tenth isn't the best place to start, but it looks like being even hotter tomorrow - probably the hottest race of the year so far - so it may well throw up a few surprises for everyone."
"Having lost a lot of track time through no fault of his own yesterday, it was always going to be playing catch-up today," added team boss Martin Whitmarsh. "In the circumstances, therefore, he did very well to get through to Q3 this afternoon, especially as it was so close at the top of the time-sheets.
"But, in getting there, he'd used up all his new option tyres, which meant there was little point in his re-using one of his already-used sets of options in Q3, since doing so would have been unlikely to have afforded him the opportunity to improve his grid position significantly over the P10 that was already in the bag by virtue of having made it through to Q3. So, instead, he did just one run in Q3 on new primes, and will therefore start tomorrow's race on those primes.
"I suppose you could say it's a slightly adventurous strategy," he admitted, "but then, given Jenson's troubled running so far, an adventurous strategy was always going to be what was required for him here today. And, as we all know, having watched with fearful thrill his wondrous run from stone-last to triumphant first here last year, there's probably no-one in the world better able to exploit an adventurous strategy at the circuit than Jenson."
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